God “spoke” clearly. He released His power, and Jehoshaphat’s army defeated their enemies!

6.  Through Circumstances

When others claim to hear God through circumstances, I try to caution them to test their conclusions with other evidence. God is a Holy God, and often uses circumstances to get our attention. But He will usually confirm it in other ways.

This happened to us before my husband and I married. We were dating in high school and were both involved in what could have been a deadly accident, when a speeding pick-up hit our car broadside. Through that accident, my husband felt God had a special purpose for his life. Did he “hear” God’s literal “Yes?” No, but through much prayer, seeking God’s Word, and talking to others, he felt God’s confirmation. Several months later, he committed his life to full-time Christian service.

Someone once told me they just knew God was telling them it was okay to buy a brand-new pickup. They’d prayed about it, and circumstances confirmed it: the local car dealership had just the color and model they wanted. But there was one small problem they were neglecting. They couldn’t afford it on their income. And they ignored other red flags as well.

Through Moses, God used circumstances (plagues) to convince Egypt’s leader to release God’s people from slavery. But Pharaoh wouldn’t listen.

Sometimes God uses our circumstances to test our faith. We don’t always know how to interpret the things that happen to us. I recently took my first trip in an ambulance to the local ER–unfortunately as a patient. My pulse, along with my blood pressure, dropped dangerously low. For several minutes my world looked like a spinning photo negative. Scary, to say the least. Four hours of testing later found no cause as to why it happened. The doctor pronounced me healthy and sent me home, after encouraging me to get a follow-up–which I did. Nothing showed up.

I don’t know if God was speaking to me about something special, but the first thing I did was tell Him I was listening! If nothing else, life–and loved ones–suddenly became much more precious to me. One of the first things I usually ask God when circumstances change is: “God, is there something you want to teach me through this?” Yes, I know everything is “fodder” for writers. But I want to make it personal and learn the lesson first.

7.  Through His Spirit

I once heard someone teach about “minding the checks” in your spirit. Some may call it “God’s whispers,” while others say, “God’s still, small voice.” We are made in the image of God, and when we confess Jesus and follow Him as our Lord and Savior, His Spirit comes to live in us (John 14:171 Corinthians 3:16). God’s Spirit speaks to us through our conscience, helping to make the right decision. When we’re tempted, that same Spirit warns and nudges us to do the right thing.

As a writer, I depend on God’s Spirit to give me direction. There are times when ideas pop into my mind totally unexpectedly–and sometimes directly after a plea for help from God. The good ideas I credit to God, because after all, He is the source of every good and perfect gift. The others? They’re in file 13. Even the good ones need developing and rewriting, but that’s a different subject.

Why do you suppose ten people can “hear” a sermon, but each person will walk away with a different truth that applies to him? In some cases, the speaker never spoke what the people say they “heard.” Many times, that may be the result of God’s Spirit speaking a personal “Rhema,” a living, breathing word of truth to our spirits. It’s when Scripture comes alive to us–because it is truly “God-breathed.”